Effectiveness in the House of Commons 1900–97
in Parliamentary reform at Westminster
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Successive governments have been able to use their dominant position inside the House of Commons to implement effectiveness reforms, defined as those which seek to rebalance executive-legislative relations. This chapter examines some of the reforms implemented in the years prior to 1997, suggested for and implemented in the House of Commons to enhance its effectiveness. While effectiveness reforms in the early part of the century tended to suggest particularly radical solutions to the ‘problem of parliament’, such as electoral reform and devolution, that tendency was largely replaced in the post-war era by a desire to enhance effectiveness by promoting internal reform of the House of Commons itself. The chapter also considers the creation of investigative committees in the House of Commons, the decline of parliament, the establishment of Commons committees during 1961–1997, the Procedure Committee report of 1965 on parliamentary reform and how to improve the effectiveness of the Commons, the reforms initiated by Richard Crossman, and the introduction of select committees.


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